BudgetCalls to Action: Citizens

CA’s Next Tax Increase

Yesterday Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore McGuire and Assembly Speaker Rivas confirmed they still intend to close the budget deficit in part by drawing half of the state’s budget reserves when they finalize the budget in June. That’s setting up taxpayers for a tax increase, as explained here. Absent help, we won’t be able to stop it.

When GFC launched in 2011, Republican state legislators still mattered. As an example, 18 of the 40 members of the State Senate were Republican. That meant that a small number of centrist Democrats could exert meaningful influence. But Republicans now hold only eight seats in the State Senate. That means it takes a very large number of centrist Democrats to obtain leverage, which in turn means governance at the state level now looks a lot like governance in San Francisco where GOP lawmakers are irrelevant and centrists can gain influence only if they elect a majority of centrist Democrats. That’s possible in San Francisco, which has only 11 seats on its Board of Supervisors, but much harder at the State Capitol because of the much larger number of seats (120), and while business groups in Sacramento aggressively oppose increases in business taxes, few organizations with political muscle support individual taxpayers. Hence, individual taxpayers are the lambs in a herd surrounded by public employee unions and other rent-seekers already polling for how best to sell new taxes.

If you know Governor Newsom, you could help by asking him to revise his proposed budget when he issues the May Revision next month. As we all know, he’s desperate to get to Washington and might care about the views of supporters. More generally, we could use a lot more smart people getting politically engaged in Sacramento the way they have in San Francisco.